Arkadiusz Sołtysiak
Department of Bioarchaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw
Address: Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
Phone: (+48)225522837, fax (+48)225522801
E-mail: a.soltysiak@uw.edu.pl or a.soltysiak@poczta.onet.pl
Editor for Bioarchaeology of the Near East
Abbasi TepeN=2Chalcolithic?PDF
Balenjan TepeN=5LBA
Ghal-e-KashN=7IAPDF PDF
Goldar TepeN=2IAPDF
Tepe KhalesehN=2Late NeolithicPDF
Tepe LafoorN=1IAPDF
Molla KheilN=1ParthianPDF
Tepe SialkMNI=20Late NeolithicPDF
Yaghut TepeMNI=6LBAPDF
AssurN=37LBA, IA, ParthianPDF
Nemrik 9MNI=35Pre-Pottery Neolithic
Tell RijimN=2SasanianPDF
KadhimaN=2dating uncertainPDF
Al-KhuwaysatN=3dating uncertainPDF
As-Sabiyah BahraN=8dating uncertainPDF
As-Sabiyah MugheiraN=27dating uncertainPDF PDF
As-Sabiyah RukhamN=5dating uncertainPDF
Tell ArbidN=311EBA, MBA, LBA, Hellenistic, IslamicPDF PDF
Tell Ashara - TerqaN=254EBA, MBA, LBA, IA, Parthian, Islamic, ModernPDF PDF
Tell Barri - KahatN=118EBA, MBA, LBA, IA, Achaemenian, Parthian, ModernPDF PDF
Tell Brak - NagarN=173Chalcolithic, EBA, MBAPDF
Chagar BazarN=22MBA, ModernPDF
Tell Fares al-SharqiN=24Chalcolithic, EBA, IslamicPDF
Tell FecheriyeN=1IAPDF
Tell HamoukarN=5ChalcolithicPDF
Tell MajnunaMNI=228ChalcolithicPDF PDF PDF PDF
Tell MarwaniyehN=4IA, IslamicPDF PDF
Tell MasaikhN=404MBA, IA, Achaemenian, Hellenistic, Roman, IslamicPDF PDF
Jebel MashtaleN=39LBA, IA, Hellenistic, Roman, IslamicPDF PDF
Tell Rad ShaqraN=16EBAPDF
Publications Bioarchaeology

  1. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Anna Gręzak, Worked human femur from Gohar Tepe, Iran, "International Journal of Osteoarchaeology" 2012, doi: 10.1002/oa.2296 [abstract]
  2. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Vascular grooves on human femora and tibiae as a potential activity-related trait, "International Journal of Osteoarchaeology" 2012, doi: 10.1002/oa.2282 [abstract]
  3. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Comment on the analysis of two skeletons from Terqa, Syria, "International Journal of Osteoarchaeology" 2012, doi: 10.1002/oa.2243 [abstract]
  4. Rafał A. Fetner, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Shape and distribution of Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) scavenging marks on a bovine skull, "Journal of Taphonomy" 11(1):2013, pp. 41-47. [full text]
  5. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Paleopathology in Mesopotamia. A short overview, "Światowit" 10[51]/A:2012[2013], pp. 91-109. [full text]
  6. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Technical note: False catastrophic age-at-death profiles in commingled bone deposits, "American Journal of Physical Anthropology" 152:2013, pp. 554-557. [abstract]
  7. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Marta Bialon, Population history of the middle Euphrates valley: Dental non-metric traits at Tell Ashara, Tell Masaikh and Jebel Mashtale, Syria, "Homo. Journal of Comparative Human Biology" 64(5):2013, pp. 341-356. [abstract]
  8. Christina J. Adler, Keith Dobney, Laura S. Weyrich, John Kaidonis, Alan W. Walker, Wolfgang Haak, Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Grant Townsend, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Kurt W. Alt, Julian Parkhill, Alan Cooper, Sequencing ancient calcified dental plaque shows changes in oral microbiota with dietary shifts of the Neolithic and Industrial revolutions, "Nature Genetics" 45:2013, pp. 450-455. [abstract]
  9. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Report on selected human remains from Lama, Southern Zagros, Iran, "Iranica Antiqua" 48:2013, pp. 77-101. [abstract]
  10. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Frequency of dental caries as a proxy indicator of mobility: The case of the Khabur basin human populations [in:] "Paleonutrition and food practices in the ancient Near East. Towards a multidisciplinary approach", L. Milano (ed.), "History of the Ancient Near East Monographs" 12, Padova: S.A.R.G.O.N. 2013, pp. 53–70. [full text]
  11. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Germans in Russia — A comment on Morozova et al. (2012), "American Journal of Physical Anthropology" 149(3):2012, p. 323. [abstract]
  12. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Rafał Koliński, Preliminary report on human remains from Tell Arbid, Sector P. Excavation seasons 2008-2010, "Światowit" 9[50]:2011[2012], pp. 49-66. [full text]
  13. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Neandertal diet, voracious bacteria and the hunger for knowledge: Reply to Tomczyk’s comments, "Homo. Journal of Comparative Human Biology" 63(6):2012, pp. 493-495. [abstract]
  14. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Comment: Low dental caries rate in Neandertals: The result of diet or the oral flora composition?, "Homo. Journal of Comparative Human Biology" 63(2):2012, pp. 110-113. [abstract]
  15. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Book Review: Bioarchaeology and behavior. The people of the ancient Near East, "Bioarchaeology of the Near East" 6:2012, pp. 65–68. [full text]
  16. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Book Review: The bioarchaeology of the human head. Decapitation, decoration, and deformation, "Bioarchaeology of the Near East" 6:2012, p. 65. [full text]
  17. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Short introduction to the bioarchaeological studies at Tell Barri, "Światowit" 8[49]:2009-2010[2011], pp. 107-112. [full text]
  18. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Cereal grinding technology in ancient Mesopotamia: evidence from dental microwear, "Journal of Archaeological Science" 38(10):2011, pp. 2805–2810. [abstract]
  19. Augusta McMahon, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Jill Weber, Late Chalcolithic mass graves at Tell Brak, Syria, and violent conflict during the growth of early city-states, "Journal of Field Archaeology" 36(3):2011, pp. 201–220. [abstract]
  20. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Death and decay at the dawn of the city. Interpretation of human bone deposits at Tell Majnuna. Areas MTW, EM and EMS, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw: Warszawa 2010, pp. 218. [cover, full text]
  21. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Human bones from Chagar Bazar: scientific analyses [in:] Augusta McMahon with C. Colantoni, J. Frane and A. Sołtysiak, "Once There Was a Place. Settlement Archaeology at Chagar Bazar, 1999-2002", British Institute for the Study of Iraq, London 2009, pp. 129–159. [full text]
  22. Joan Oates, Theya Molleson, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Equids and an acrobat: closure rituals at Tell Brak, "Antiquity" 82:2008, pp. 390–400. [abstract]
  23. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Reduction of tooth size in the Khabur Basin (Northern Mesopotamia) [in:] "New Perspectives and Problems in Anthropology", E.B. Bodzár & A. Zsákai (Eds), Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle 2007, pp. 87-99. [full text]
  24. Jacek Tomczyk, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Maria Tomczyk-Gruca, Temporal changes in frequency of enamel hypoplasia in the middle Euphrates valley (Syria) [in:] "Human Diversity and Biocultural Researches. Selected papers of the 15th Congress of the European Anthropological Association", E.B. Bodzár & A. Zsákai (Eds), "Humanbiologia Budapestiensis" 30, Budapest 2007, pp. 87–97. [book overview, full text]
  25. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Physical anthropology and the "Sumerian Problem", "Studies in Historical Anthropology" 4:2004[2006], pp. 145–158. [full text]
  26. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Studies on human remains in Syria and Iraq, seasons 2001–2002. A general overview, "Studies in Historical Anthropology" 3:2003[2006], pp. 131–134. [full text]
  27. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, The plague pandemic and Slavic expansion in the 6th–8th centuries, "Archaeologia Polona" 44:2006, pp. 339–364. [abstract, full text]
  28. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Background of the variability in past human populations. Selected methodological issues [in:] "Between Data Science and Applied Data Analysis. Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Klassifikation e.V., University of Mannheim, July 22–24, 2002", M. Schader, W. Gaul, M. Vichi (Eds), Berlin & Heidelberg 2003, pp. 348–357. [book overview]

Methods of Classification

  1. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Technical Note: An R script for Smith's Mean Measure of Divergence, "Bioarchaeology of the Near East" 5:2011, pp. 41-44. [full text]
  2. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Piotr Jaskulski, Analysis of morphological differences between prehistoric populations with use of a non–hierarchic method of data clustering, "Przegląd Antropologiczny – Anthropological Review" 62:1999, pp. 75–83. [full text]
  3. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Piotr Jaskulski, Czekanowski's diagram. A method of multidimensional clustering [in:] "New Techniques for Old Times. CAA 98. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Proceedings of the 26th Conference, Barcelona, March 1998", J.A. Barceló, I. Briz, A. Vila (Eds), "BAR International Series" 757, Oxford 1999, pp. 175–184. [full text]

Astronomy in Culture

  1. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Ancient Persian skywatching and calendars [in:] "Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy", C.L.N. Ruggles (ed.), Springer Verlag 2014
  2. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, The gates of Dur Šarrukin, "Światowit" 8[49]:2009-2010[2011], pp. 133-138. [full text]
  3. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Arnold Lebeuf, Pohualli 1.01. A computer simulation of Mesoamerican calendar systems, "Światowit" 8[49]:2009-2010[2011], pp. 165-168. [full text]
  4. Michał Gawlikowski, Krzysztof Jakubiak, Wiesław Malkowski, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, A ray of light for Mithras [in:] "Un impaziente desiderio di scorrere il mondo. Studi di onore de Antonio Invernizzi per il suo settantesimo compleanno", C. Lippolis, S. de Martino (ed.), "Monografie di Mesopotamia" 14, Firenze 2011, pp. 169-174. [full text]
  5. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Book Review: Sumero-Akkadian Star Names, "Journal for the History of Astronomy" 40(1):2009, pp. 120–122. [full text]
  6. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, The birthday of Asakku [in:] "Astronomy and cosmology in folk traditions and cultural heritage", J. Vaiškunas (ed.), "Archaeologia Baltica" 10, Klaipeda 2008, pp. 52–56. [full text]
  7. Krzysztof Jakubiak, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Mesopotamian influences on Persian sky-watching and calendars. Part II. Ishtar and Anahita [in:] "Astronomy and cosmology in folk traditions and cultural heritage", J. Vaiškunas (ed.), "Archaeologia Baltica" 10, Klaipeda 2008, pp. 45–51. [full text]
  8. Krzysztof Jakubiak, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Mesopotamian Influence on Persian Sky-watching and Calendars. Part I. Mithra, Shamash and Solar Festivals [in:] "Proceedings of the conference 'Time and astronomy in past cultures'. Toruń, March 30 – April 1, 2005", A. Sołtysiak (ed.), Warszawa & Toruń 2006, pp. 51–62. [full text]
  9. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Hymiskvida and Gylfaginning 48. Is Thor’s meeting with Midgardsorm an astral story? [in:] "Cosmic Catastrophies. A Collection of Articles", M. Koiva, I. Pustylnik, L. Vesik (Eds), Tartu 2005, pp. 175–178. [full text]
  10. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Betrayed Lovers of Ištar. A Possible Trace of the 8–Year Venus Cycle in Gilgameš VI:i-iii [in:] "Calendars, Symbols, and Orientations: Legacies of Astronomy in Culture. Proceedings of the 9th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture (SEAC). Stockholm, 27–30 August 2001", M. Blomberg, P.E. Blomberg, G. Henriksson (Eds), "Uppsala Astronomical Observatory" Report No. 59, Uppsala 2003, pp. 101–106. [full text]
  11. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, The Bull of Heaven in Mesopotamian Sources, "Culture and Cosmos" 5:2001, No 2, pp. 3–21. [abstract], [full text]
  12. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Adapa, Etana and Gilgameš. Three Sumerian Rulers among the Constellations [in:] "Oxford VI and SEAC 99. Astronomy and cultural diversity", C. Esteban & J.A. Belmonte (Eds), La Laguna 1999, pp. 289–293.
  13. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, The Tree of Life and The Serpent of Truth. Celestial Location and Astronomical Significance of The Paradise [in:] "Actes de la Veme Conférence Annuelle de la SEAC. Gdańsk 1997", red. A. Le Beuf & M.S. Ziółkowski, Warszawa & Gdańsk 1999, pp. 29–56.


  1. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, The Number Nine in the Tradition of the Norsemen [in:] "Między Drzewem Życia a Drzewem Poznania. Księga ku czci profesora Andrzeja Wiercińskiego", M.S. Ziółkowski & A. Sołtysiak (Eds), Warszawa–Kielce 2003, pp. 231–242. [full text]
  2. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Piotr Jaskulski, Anthropology at Warsaw University. Antropologia na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim, Instytut Archeologii UW, Warszawa 2000, pp. 125. [full text]
  3. Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Some Remarks Concerning Cultural Evolution [in:] "Man as a Subject and Object of Culture", ed. A. Wiercińska, Warsaw 1999, pp. 93–99.
Research Projects Variability of diet in human populations of the Near East from the Neolithic to the Modern period: an application of stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis (NCN HARMONIA, 2012/06/M/HS3/00272)

Research on stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic proportions in human collagen is a standard tool in investigation of diet and subsistence in past human societies. Proportions of carbon isotopes (13C to 12C) may be used to estimate share in diet of some plants with a specific photosyntesis pathway (like maize, millet, sorghum or sugarcane) or to distinguish between marine and terrestrial diets. Proportions of nitrogen isotopes (15N to 14N) are correlated with the trophic level, so the share of animal-related products in diet may be investigated.

Although research on stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes was introduced to archaeology more than 30 years ago, this method has atracted little attention of archaeologists working in the Near East. The project aims to fill this gap at least partially, providing results of isotopic research on human remains from nine archaeological sites in Northern Mesopotamia. Large dataset including several chronological units from three different ecological zones enabled some insight into changes in diet and subsistence from the Bronze Age to the Modern period.

More specifically, there are two most important results of the project. First, small but significant shift in carbon isotopic values has been observed at many sites during the second millennium BCE. As no new crops were introduced in that time, this shift was most likely the result of wider use of dry steppes for pastures of caprovid flocks. The isotopic bulk signature of wild grasses, different from domesticated cereals, was transferred to humans through animal products in diet. This shift in animal husbandry seems to reflect the broader change in social organization, with higher independence of pastoralists from the state.

Another interesting result is the dating of the large irrigation system in the middle Euphrates valley south of the Khabour confluence. Lower water stress and more extensive plant cultivation on widely irrigated fields changed the nitrogen isotopic values between the Middle Bronze Age and the Neo-Assyrian period and it is most likely that the construction of irrigation canals was a part of Assyrian policy of increasing the agricultural potential of the empire.

All these results are important for better understanding of the social and economic history of ancient Mesopotamia, but can have also broader impact on bioarchaeological methods and theory. For example, observed correlation between nitrogen isotopic values and annual precipitation allows use of the former as the proxy indicator of mobility between more dry and more humid locations.

The impact of the environment on the process of urbanisation in Late Chalcolithic Syria: the analysis of mass burials at Tell Majnuna (NCN HARMONIA, 2013/10/M/HS3/00554)

Tell Brak is an important archaeological site in Syria, with evidence of early urbanisation as early as in the end of 5th millennium BCE. At one of satellite mounds of this site called Tell Majnuna, a large midden has been found together with several clusters of partially or totally disarticulated human remains as well as a regular cemetery on the top.

At least two largest clusters, with evidence of stress, disarticulation and scavenging, seem to reflect two episodes of increased mortality that could have been caused by warfare, famine or epidemic disease. The project aims to check the hypothesis that the earliest event reflected by the largest cluster of human remains was preceded by a period of environmental stress related to drought and food shortage. To answer this question, several analytical methods are used, as study of micro- and macrodefects in the incremental layers of enamel, analysis of the sequence of oxygen isotopic values in enamel, research on enamel microwear patterns, and radiocarbon dating of human bones from several contexts.

Combined study of enamel defects and oxygen isotopic values produced significant results and at least two periods of prolonged drought and environmental stress were detected. One of them started c. 4.5 years before the event of increased mortality and directly preceded mass death, and another one occured c. 10-15 years before. It means that the early urban society was sensitive to short-term climatic fluctuations and the general level of stress was relatively high, that is indicated also by high frequency of cranial trauma and a case of child abuse found in a bit earlier cemetery at Tell Brak.

The project provided new data for the discussion about the background of rapid urbanization at Tell Brak in late 5th and early 4th millennium BCE. It also introduced some new analytical methods that allow relatively precise reconstruction of environmental history for c. 30-35 years prior to an episode of increased mortality leading to formation of a mass burial.
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